Joinery National Advisory Group Meeting

Summary of meeting held April 2020.

Out of the interest of the safety and wellbeing of our stakeholders and BCITO staff, this year's March NAG meetings were cancelled. This, however, did not stop the group from getting together and a meeting taking place virtually via Zoom. The NAG meeting took place on 16 April and was a very worthy exercise with an adjusted agenda focussing more on the current events.  Some of the key discussion points to come out of the Timber Joinery NAG meeting were:

Micro-credentials 

The Kitchen Installation micro-credential is ready to go and is largely unchanged from how it was piloted.  A product launch will be scheduled when our work status returns to normal.   

A brand new CNC micro-credential has been registered. The official title is "Computer Controlled Numerical Machinery (Operation) for Construction Related Trades Micro-credential." It has been developed as part of the joinery qualification review, sits at a level 3, and has a value of 25 credits. Topics cover knowledge of CNC Operation, Set and Operate CNC machinery, Work safely, and Work as part of a team.

Apprentice upskilling and retention 

In a downturn, we need to continue to upskill.  We know that from a learner's perspective, stability for a good learner is vital, and this requires a strong connection with the employer and working community. 

Do whatever possible to keep the market active, and maintain a connection with learners.  
The ideal option would be to funnel these persons into a mix of classroom, remote learning, and other types of activities while supported financially by MSD.  In a year, you'll want your apprentice back; even if that's gradual, there needs to be a way of keeping that connection.

Share apprentices through a network; this is something Master Joiners are keen to facilitate. And even, in the long term, if appropriate and agreeable, redistribute those apprentices. If some of the larger firms have got good contracts to keep the apprentice learning, in the industry and employed, sign them across. 

New technology connecting apprentices, training advisors and employers

BCITO has purchased a standalone Learning Management System (LMS) called CANVAS. Using this system, apprentices can upload evidence, access resources, communicate achievements, and ask questions of their training advisors (TA).  They can self-test their knowledge by taking an industry-specific quiz, watch educational videos.  Employers can "speak" to work presented, verify its authenticity, share observations, and helpful insights all done remotely across a range of devices. 

Current learning material, resources with some clever bits are being uploaded, and access for the apprentice and employer will be via a unique login through the myBCITO portal.  

If a Training Advisor can't get onto a site, they can still connect, and the apprentices learning progresses.  CANVAS is in pilot with 80 Carpentry apprentices, and we will look at rolling it out across sectors shortly. 

Work pipeline shift and opportunity for a change in thinking

Some businesses are seeing inquiries come in from overseas, where leading brands worldwide can't get stuff shipped here, so they're starting to see bigger jobs come in, and they want NZ firms to make the joinery.

There will be opportunities one being resistance to importing Flat Pack kitchens from overseas.  Customers may feel conflicted when choosing to invest in an imported product versus kiwi made. There is a case to be made in supporting New Zealand businesses and buying quality made.

Mental health

From a business owner's perspective - there's no better time than now to have a strong network. A lot of Joinery firms tend to have work in the pipeline, insulating them for a few months. There may even be an initial rebound coming from people that have been on lockdown and want to update areas of their home, resulting in a mini spike. The reality will strike towards the end of the year and ahead of the New Year.

From an apprentice's perspective - fear of getting exposed is the most significant concern.  Planning is imperative; ensure all hazards and risks are considered from the point of arrival to departure from site and that these are communicated in a simple but clear manner at the appropriate time.  

We would like to  thank all NAG members for giving up their time in the current environment to contribute to such a productive meeting

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